Friday, June 30, 2017


We could easily walk to the National Air and Space Museum as it was in an area of the Mall that was across the street from our hotel. 
We had a lot of fun in this museum--Neil and Elijah especially. This plane is Charles Lindbergh's Spirit of St. Louis.
Gemini IV space capsule
Mercury Friendship 7

How hot is the sun? On June 6, 2017 at 15:00 o'clock, it was 4.5 million degrees F.

Infrared camera measuring body heat displayed on a screen--Elijah could not resist checking out his armpit heat 😅
It's always good to have a backup as NASA knows well 

When Neil was an engineering student at TTU, he got to work study at NASA George C. Marshall Space Flight Center at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama, where he worked on experiments for the Skylab project. They had a full sized mock up of Skylab in a huge water tank there and we got to see the astronauts training in weightlessness. Way cool stuff.
Neil Armstrong's space suit from the Apollo 11 mission--first man to walk on the moon

Apollo 11 checklists
Mercury flight operation manual signed by Alan Shepard

"Failure is not an option."
"Ok, Houston, we've had a problem here." The words actually spoken, initially by Command Module Pilot Jack Swigert.  After being prompted to repeat the transmission by CAPCOM Jack R. Lousma, mission commander Jim Lovell responded, "Uh, Houston, we've had a problem." 
If you saw the movie Apollo 13, you'll remember the phrase the movie script coined: 'Houston, we have a problem.' And you'll know this vest (and also the Apollo 13 button) worn by Gene Kranz, (played by Ed Harris) director of NASA missions operations during Gemini and Apollo missions and lead flight director during Apollo 13.   It's an amazing story and one of my favorite movies.

We ended up at Mickey D's again for lunch. So did everybody else in the museum. It's a captive audience after all. But the process moved efficiently and quickly for government work.

This looks familiar

Elijah wandered over to the big windows for a moment to see the view and came back to the table with an interesting story: A teenage boy at one of the tables around the corner from ours recognized Elijah from his gaming YouTube channel. The guy said to him "You're BeastMoBilly." Elijah said yes and the guy told him he liked his gaming videos. It's a small world after all, y'all. How crazy is that?! It made Elijah's day to say the least.

After lunch, we enjoyed a short 3D movie in the IMAX theater.

It was a fascinating look at the future of space travel and the planned manned mission to Mars.

And we got to wear these way cool 3D glasses.

After the movie and learning how NASA plans to send humans to Mars to live and work and hopefully survive, we ended our museum visit by gawking at the Wright Brothers plane. You could get whiplash from the time travel alone.

And just so you know...this is the real deal, well, except for the fabric covering

However, this is not the real Orville Wright flying the plane

Our last museum visit of the day was the Archives of the United States of America where we saw the Charters of Freedom: Declaration of Independence, Bill of Rights, and the Constitution. And also an exemplified copy of Magna Carta 1297  (Exemplifications can only be attested and executed by either the authority holding the record or the issuing authority. Exemplified copies are also usually an extract or transcript made directly from the original.)  During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land."  Magna Carta, first issued in 1215 by King John of England, established for the first time that the king was subject to the law, not above it, and set out a new political order. It is widely viewed as one of the most important legal documents in the history of democracy
These documents are an amazing sight to see for any American

Photography was forbidden in the document room, unfortunately. So I snapped a shot of these three tourists. Does Neil qualify as a relic?
And that's our history lesson for the day.

Elijah bought this cool plasma ball at the air and space museum gift shop.
I Googled it:  plasma globe or plasma lamp (also called plasma ball, dome, sphere, tube or orb, depending on shape) is (usually) a clear glass sphere filled with a mixture of various noble gases with a high-voltage electrode in the center of the sphere. Plasma filaments extend from the electrode to the glass when electricity is supplied, creating fascinating beams of colored light. Tesla called his invention an "inert gas discharge tube".
When you touch the globe, it looks like arcs of lightning coming from the electrode. How cool is that?
There's a science geek in all of us.

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